– island to benefit from a number of D&I projects after farmers complain about defects in several drainage structures
During a recent outreach to communities in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha reaffirmed Government’s commitment to ensuring there is development across the country.
While addressing farmers at a meeting in Leguan, Minister Mustapha told the gathering that their community will not be exempt from Government’s vision for development.
“Sometimes development takes a long time. Sometimes development might pass you and go to another area based on the priorities of the Government. I am not saying development will pass Leguan. I just want to let you know how things happen sometimes. But I want to reinforce and I want you, the residence to know that Leguan is a very important community to us, in the Government, and we will do our best to resolve your issues,” Minister Mustapha said.
Farmers present indicated that the common issue on the island was the lack of proper drainage and the need for some amount of rehabilitation works to critical D&I structures.
Jairam Rampersaud, a farmer from Leguan said that his farmland and home are constantly flooded due to a defective kokar close to his residence.
“At present, the kokar close to me is in a deplorable state. It is a self-acting kokar and over the years, the water would flow straight to my land and my home is often flooded. I would like for you to make some intervention to help the situation at present. The kokar is falling apart and water is seeping through the entire structure,” Mr. Rampersaud said.
After listening to issues raised by several farmers present, Minister Mustapha noted that his Ministry will be working with the Regional Office to develop a work programme to remedy their issues.
“Since taking office as Minister, there has been one common issue faced by persons in the farming communities across the country. It is clear that the previous administration has failed to provide basic drainage and irrigation services to citizens. There has also been a clear neglect to critical D&I structures across the country and clearly the structures in Leguan were no exception. I had meetings with farmers from Hogg Island and Wakenaam earlier today and they too have similar issues. I’ve committed to having an engineer go to those communities to carry out a needs assessment that will be factored into a work programme to ascertain what works are needed to ensure residents benefit from proper drainage. You will also benefit from that exercise. We cannot do extensive works now with this emergency budget, but rest assured, we will work to have some of the critical issues resolved. Other major works will be budgeted for in 2021 and other budgets to come,” Minister Mustapha said.